PowerPoint Guidelines for Television

Things to Do
  • Use the image on this page as a temporary background when designing the foreground elements of your slide. When everything is in place, change the background image to one of your choice.
    • To use this image, right click on the image and select save picture as from the pop-up menu. Navigate to where you want to save the image, name it, and click save. You'll need to drag each of the center handles until they snap to the edge of the slide so that the image is the same size as the slide.
A temporary use background image
  • Design your slide so that all important foreground elements (such as title, charts, text, bullet lists, etc.) fit inside the light area of the safe image. Anything within the blue border may get cut off by TVs, video projectors, etc. When aired on television, the DTN logo appears in the lower right corner. Avoid this area, as well.
  • When designing your content for TV, remove all extra or unnecessary information. Focus on the exact point you’re trying to make, and keep it simple.
    • Remember, when aired on TV, people may only see the slide for about 10 seconds or so. If there's a lot of information, the viewer won't have time to read and process it.
  • Make text as large as possible, within reason and style. We recommend a font size of at least 22 or 24. Whenever possible, use a sans serif font (like Arial or Verdana), as these are easier to read on television.
Contact DTN if you have a presentation to make to the Durham City Council or the Durham Planning Commission, DTN staff will arrange a time to meet with you prior to the meeting to ensure your presentation meets TV guidelines. Please call 919-560-4123 for any questions or concerns you may have.
Things to Avoid
  • Avoid thin, script, or serif style fonts. Try to use fonts that are thicker or in bold. Thicker fonts work better on television.
  • Avoid small font sizes. Text that is too small will become unreadable when converted to video. Try to use 24 as the minimum point size. Details like the horizontal lines in letters such as A or E may also be lost if the font is too small.
  • Avoid thin lines. Any lines you draw or outlines that you use should be at least 4 pixels thick. Smaller lines will appear to jitter and vibrate when seen on video. This is because the video signal is interlaced, meaning that only the odd or even numbered scan lines are displayed at any given time. One pixel equates to 1 scan line. If your lines aren't thick enough to cover multiple scan lines, they'll appear to be constantly shifting position, causing what is called field flicker.
  • Avoid small or thin repeating patterns like grids or plaid. These will cause jittering, vibrating, and strobing effects. If you want to use a grid pattern in your design, make sure the lines are at least 4 pixels wide and 4 pixels apart.
  • Avoid excessive use of pure colors. A television set can't display graphics and text as clearly as a computer monitor. As a result, pure colors will "bleed" on television causing ghosting patterns and / or smearing and tearing effects. This is especially true for the color red. To avoid this, never use a pure color. A list of common pure colors and their TV safe RGB values can be on this page. They appear darker than you're used to on a computer, but they are bright and crisp on TV.
A guide of TV safe color values